Earth Unaware

Earth Unaware

The First Formic War, Volume One of the Formic Wars

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
13
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The mining ship El Cavador, beyond Pluto, detects a fast-moving incoming object headed toward Earth. The crew decides it's probably not important, but they're wrong: it represents the opening wave of the first Formic War.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780765329042
0765329042
Branch Call Number: CARD O
Card, O
Characteristics: 368 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Johnston, Aaron - Author

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z
zipread
Jul 10, 2015

Earth Unaware --- by --- Orson Scott Card.
Science fiction the way it used to be written: high adventure; ugly aliens bent on dominance; a seemingly invincible alien technology deigned to overwhelm the best earth can throw against it; these are the elements author Card brings to play against these terrifying formins. This story is pure adrenalin-pumping excitement. It’s the kind of excitement that keeps you reading under the sheets with a flash-light till well past midnight on a school night. This is the kind of Sci-Fi that would have done old Heinlein proud: for sure he could have identified and have had no reservations of having written it. So get your flash-light and crack the covers.

Given some of the painfully obvious misunderstandings of basic kitchen physics and beyond that how objects behave in while in orbit or during a transit, I came to an early conclusion that Orson Scott Card was just lending his name to this series. This was written mostly by his collaborator, whose name I won’t mention since the following review could be construed as slander. Card could not have been the one at the keyboard. When Card invents new physical laws it is done as intentional and necessary part of the story, not out of ignorance or by accident. I stopped figuratively rolling my eyes when a spaceship has to be:
- stopped to make repairs. (Stopped relative to what? Where does all this reaction mass come from to stop and start up again? How is being "stopped" out where the vacuum is so hard that hydrogen molecules are whole fractions of a millimeter apart any safer than continuing along one's trajectory?) The same idea applies to the supposedly nail biting section where two ships are docking while still traveling at high “speed”. Relative to each other they are barely moving as fast as a two month old human can crawl. Their speed relative to anything else in the universe is irrelevant unless they happen to be about to crash into it while docking with each other.
- accelerated and decelerated for increasingly lengthy periods to accustom a passenger to a destination's gravity, when there is supposedly some urgency to the passenger's arrival. (If reaction mass is so easy to come by, why not just accelerate half way and decelerate the other half? Certainly that would save an enormous amount of time and frankly make calculating the trajectory a lot simpler.)
- insulated against loss of heat and actively heated to keep folks warm. (Fer Pete's sake, getting rid of excess heat generated by day to day activities is a major design consideration for the space lab. No outside atmosphere to conduct it away by convection. Even out in the Kuiper belt this would be true. In space the only way to lose heat is by radiating it away – implacable but really really slow.)
Then there is the handy little "heat extractor" tool that seems to be in every mechanic's back pocket. Making this seemingly inconsequential thing possible would require such a massive overhaul of thermodynamics that it makes just about all the other technological marvels in the three novels pale by comparison. Don’t even get me started on “Laserized Plasma”. I decided early on that the author of this derivative series is not trying to be reasonably true to even old fashioned table top chemistry and Newtonian physics let alone any newfangled "Little Doctor" physics which (by the way) is introduced in this series long before it was historically supposed to have been introduced in the original Card novels.
I found that any relation to the original story line that is supposedly in this series' future is almost coincidental. I stopped counting discrepancies after the first ten, but it became a bit of a game which kept me slogging on.
This derivative series is a passable story about the human condition and good versus evil, using some of the same names as we found in the original series. Little good guys are seriously hurt by indifferent big bad guys but little good guys ultimately triumph. It takes place in a universe where physical laws governing basic processes like heating, cooling, gravity, and conservation of momentum can be temporarily changed or ignored if they are inconvenient without even having to invoke some futuristic technological development.
The aliens are shown to be as dangerous a threat to humanity as a tidal wave is to a coastal city, and are given little more character development than one would expect to be given to a tidal wave. It does moderately well as a way to pass the time once one's expectations have been appropriately reduced and one’s suspension of disbelief is given free reign.

d
Dixiedog2
Mar 18, 2015

My thirteenth Orson Scott Card book of which ten are from the Ender series. ‘Earth Afire’ and ‘Earth Awakens’ are next. I rated this book as excellent. Doctor-at-Bass! Taylor A.

d
dixiedog
Mar 04, 2015

Earth Unaware - Ender Book – Formic Wars Trilogy – Volume 1; the prequel trilogy to Ender’s Game and many other books was slow at first as it prepares for what is to come in ‘Earth Afire’ and ‘Earth Awakens.’ The book picks up when the free miners eye-in-the-sky first detects a spaceship approaching at sub-light speed, something beyond man`s technology; and then ... first contact! I rated this book as very good. Senior Doctor-at-Bass! D. A.

Firt if trilogy of BEFORE ENDER'S GAME. Mindes in remote astroids, capitalist looking for share holder profit, no one sees the invasion coming. Great background, could not put the book down.

l
Lovebooks458
Jul 14, 2014

Love this book! I could not put it down. Highly recommend this one. Cannot wait to read Earth Afire!

s
smithcdn
Feb 06, 2014

I tried to read "Ender's Game" when I was a kid (12? 13?) and it made no sense to me. It seemed to have too much squabbling and petty politics or social infighting. At least that's what I remember. So no, almost 50 years later, when I took out this prequel (#1 of 3 books) I wondered if it would be good. The answer: Yes, it's very good. I enjoyed the book very much, the science in it, the social interactions of the characters (who include several 'children') and the creation of a threat to Earth and humanity. I have now also read Book #2 (Earth Afire) and it continues the saga very well. See my comments for it for more detail. But read this one FIRST!

f
fingarc
Sep 09, 2013

Really enjoyed the non stop action and drama in this book. Went to find out that the 3rd part isn't out yet.

3
3dblus
Jun 09, 2013

Having read "Ender's Game", I enjoyed this look into the beginning. A pretty good SF read.

AlanReynolds May 17, 2013

First Sci-Fi I have read in 25 years (Sci-Fi became too much fantasy for me). Was never a Card fan, but this story was riveting and well thought out. Very enjoyable and reads lie the wind.

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